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I am generally wondering if the beastmaster can use his bonus action before his companion attacks but after the action command is given. (PHB p93)

Why do I want to know this? There is the feat "shield master" which gives me the following option:

If you take the Attack action on your turn, you can use a bonus action to try to shove a creature within 5 feet of you with your shield.

(I can't use the bonus action until the Attack action is used).

Would the following work?

  1. use my action to attack the enemy once and give the companion an order to attack (my action would be finished).
  2. i use my bonus action (shield master) to knock the opponent to the ground (prone).
  3. my companion executes my command and attacks the opponent. It gets an advantage because the opponent is on the ground.

(In advance I thank you for your answers and I apologize for my bad English).

Greetings Haakon

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1 Answer 1

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Your beast companion has its own turn and can only act on commands during its turn.

The Ranger's Companion feature partially states (emphasis mine):

The beast obeys your commands as best as it can. It takes its turn on your initiative. On your turn, you can verbally command the beast where to move (no action required by you). You can use your action to verbally command it to take the Attack, Dash, Disengage, or Help action. If you don't issue a command, the beast takes the Dodge action. Once you have the Extra Attack feature, you can make one weapon attack yourself when you command the beast to take the Attack action.

From the second sentence it is clear the beast has its own turn separate from yours, and the rules consistently state that the ranger is commanding the beast on the ranger's own turn. The beast companion is a creature and like any other creature it takes its actions on its own turn in the turn order.

The beast's turn is stated to be on the ranger's initiative and by the rules of initiative (PHB, Chapter 9):

If a tie occurs, the DM decides the order among tied DM-controlled creatures, and the players decide the order among their tied characters.

I do not consider the beast companion a DM-controlled creature, but a character tied to a player and thus the players decide when the beast companion turn occurs relative to the player-controlled creatures with the same initiative. Generally you would choose the beast's turn to directly be after yours, otherwise you can not command it and it will take the Dodge action. But if you are incapacitated it can be favorable to let the beast go first, or if the initiative tie includes other player characters let them go in between you and the beast.

In conclusion, the ranger can take the Attack action to make one weapon attack and command the beast, then take a bonus action. The beast will take its action on its own turn according to the command it was given, which is generally after your bonus action.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1, the separate turn resolves this nicely \$\endgroup\$ Jun 2 at 7:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for the quick reply. To clarify: So that would mean I can use shield master's ability in a bonus action before my creature attacks or? \$\endgroup\$
    – Haakon
    Jun 2 at 8:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Haakon, yes based on Pepijns answer, your companion will take its turn after yours normally, and that means after you attacked and bonus-action shield bashed the opponent prone on your turn, the companion can then attack it with advantage on its turn \$\endgroup\$ Jun 2 at 8:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin Thank you again and if there are no other answers or contradiction, the question is answered for me. :) Interesting idea by the way: Now imagine that you have a giant crab as a companion that "Grapples" the opponent. Getting up will then be quite difficult for him. xD \$\endgroup\$
    – Haakon
    Jun 2 at 9:01

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